Saturday, November 1, 2014

Coworking Spaces

Seattle is on top of the coworking trend with dozens of places that charge for innovative work spaces. These coworking spaces are designed for those who work on their own projects or work remotely but would like to work in a more collaborative setting. Here are a few of my favorite about town:

1. Ada's Technical Books and Cafe - The Office

This coworking space lives upstairs from Ada's Technical Books and Cafe in Capitol Hill. This quieter, family friendly section of Capitol Hill is perfect for coworking and is near some really great restaurants and shops. You can rent your own workspace and have access to their wifi and cafe downstairs. 

2. Metrix Create:Space

Metrix is a maker space and coworking space that specializes in prototyping and fabrication. With machining tools, engineers can work on projects and test out ideas. Metrix also runs programs and classes to teach all skill levels how to use the tools. 

3. Makers

Maker's is a large coworking space in downtown that offers meeting rooms, workspaces, and large common areas such as kitchens and lounge spaces. It has the feel of working for a large Amazon type tech company, but is used by many different people for different projects. 

4. Impact Hub: Seattle

This company has many locations all over the globe. They make coworking/event spaces. The Seattle location is in an historic building in Pioneer Square. They have many levels of membership, but the highest level gets you a desk, an unlimited Orca card, and a mail box. 

5. Office Nomads

This coworking space in Capitol Hill offers a variety of work spaces. It has special membership options for students and offers a coworking visa that allows you to take advantage of coworking spaces in other parts of the world for free.  

Public libraries have not done a lot yet with the idea of coworking. They have been chasing after the idea of the 'marker's spaces' with fervor by purchasing 3D printers and preparing more programs that focus on creating and making. Most libraries are not focusing so much on creating a real space, however. They keep tools in closets and cart them out for programs. This is understandable considering space limitations in libraries. Coworking spaces, on the other hand, are all about the idea of creating a welcoming space for people to come together and work on projects. Here are a few libraries that have embraced the coworking trend by providing dedicated spaces:

1. Richland Library - Reserve a Coworking Desk

2. Phoenix Public Library - Hive @ Central

3. Brooklyn Public Library - Shelby White and Leon Levy Information Commons

Even if the library doesn't designate a space as 'coworking' you can still find areas that act similarly. Meeting rooms and study rooms could easily be seen as cowork-friendly. My local library in Capitol Hill has a 'quiet study space' that I have used to set up my laptop and write.

I really like the idea of supporting local entrepreneurs by creating a welcoming and free space where they can work. The important part to remember is that these spaces are designed to bring people together. Quiet study spaces won't cut it if you hope to create a coworking space. The library needs to host events, provide tools, and make a space that is conducive to collaboration. More libraries should be doing this!